Local hero Verstappen thrills fans at Zandvoort
Dutch fans were out in force at Zandvoort on Sunday to watch Max Verstappen in action – and the local hero didn’t disappoint, unofficially smashing the lap record at the former Grand Prix venue during a rapid demonstration run.
At the wheel of a Red Bull RB8 – the same chassis that Mark Webber raced for the first three Grands Prix of 2012 – Verstappen clocked the new marker in between a flurry of crowd-pleasing burnouts and donuts.
“It is super to be here and driving the Red Bull Racing RB8,” said Verstappen, whose crew had been a little concerned they'd run out of tyres before he ran out of enthusiasm.
“The V8-engine makes a nice sound - that always makes it extra special. It is a slightly different car that I am normally used to, but with a better sound, so that is also better to use here.
“I know from my Formula 3-period that Zandvoort [which hosted the Dutch Grand Prix 30 times between 1952 and 1985] is a great circuit. There is way more grip now with the new tarmac. It is more comfortable to drive on, because there aren’t that many bumps anymore, that’s very positive.”
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Verstappen, who has appeared at the event for the last three years, hailed the number of fans who turned out to watch him in action.
“I think that there are already more people than last year,” F1’s youngest-ever race winner said. “That is of course great to see and makes me absolutely proud. Certainly after you have done a run and you see everybody cheering, that is really nice to see. They are the best fans there are.”
After a busy weekend in the Netherlands, Verstappen is swapping his homeland for his home town as he gears up for the Monaco Grand Prix. The Dutchman is yet to finish a race in the Principality after crashing out for the last two years. Will it be a case of third time lucky?